If you were fortunate enough to attend VOICEBOX on October 13, 2015… well, hopefully, the words to follow spark a special memory and bring you back to a moment you enjoyed. While September’s Voicebox showcased many first-time story tellers, October’s show featured familiar faces and voices. If you could not attend, and I understand if you were out celebrating a Cubs Victory…here’s a taste of what you missed. Whether you made it or not, we hope to see you next time. Here’s where I echo the good vibrations from THE BEST NIGHT OF THE MONTH.
The night began with the lovely Char Vickery introducing the pride of Burr Ridge, Illinois, the amazing Cathy Richardson, citing more awards and accolades than you could shake a stick at.. If you had a stick to shake, and were so inclined.
Cathy then helped us all get our HAUNT-ON with a chilling version of Screaming Jay Hawkins I PUT A SPELL ON YOU….Cathy is the perfect blues blaster and this song is securely in her vocal sweet spot…Dang! The Rock Goddess nailed this one…. Hope someone captured it and posts on Youtube… Did I say DANG!!! DOUBLE DANG!!!
Maureen Muldoon walked on the stage next and.. can I just say…Maureen lights up a room…she sparkles and glistens and is effervescent like a funny glass of champagne… the best damn New Jersey champagne money can buy… Maureen cracked wise for a bit and then introduced the evening’s first storyteller.
Kimberly Duncan is Belgian and her stories often focus on growing up in a Belgian family. Last night she weaved a web of tastiness as she detailed her mother’s amazing culinary talents, which seemed to mostly involve pounds and pounds of butter and incredible french fries… “The Mudda wid da Butta” was a sorceress of savory and cast a spell of food on her family. Kim delivered a wonderful tale whose ingredients included humor, poignancy and lots of love and the audience ate it up. Cathy Richardson, who never seems to miss a beat, took the stage and sang a few bars of Arlo Guthrie’s ALICE’s RESTAURANT. But in this case it was MADELINE’S RESTAURANT in honor of Kim’s mom.
Ron Estrada then served up a sterling example of his versatility as a writer. Ron consistently crafts provocative works, leaning toward the contemplative, often darker side of life. Last night he told a hilarious story called “CAN YOU USE IT IN A SENTENCE?” The ever imaginative Estrada put a twist on the night’s theme and told of his struggles, or rather his RELUCTANCE to adopt the conventional rules of spelling. Ron relayed his trials and tribulations as a young man competing in school mandated spelling bees, comparing the often painful experience to a firing squad. Cathy Richardson kept the audience howlings when she followed with Tammy Wynette’s classic D-I-V-O-R-C-E, providing a clever musical follow-up
to Ron’s story.
The hostess with the mostess came next. Maureen Muldoon is the creatrix of Voicebox and can tell a story any damn time that she pleases. And she never disappoints. The spiritual vixen with an Irish gypsy background slowed down the heartbeat of the night with a loving tribute to her father, detailing her curious search for signs from him following his passing and her attempts to get a message through to him. Maureen described her faith in serendipity and her faith in “FAITH” itself as she pursued a magical path of dolphins through the winter streets of Chicago in search of answers. She was led to a woman in need and Maureen offered the only words that made sense at the time. “nothing has happened to your body that has any effect upon your spirit.” Somehow, someway, these words provided solace for Maureen and the unknown woman. This story was all about the wondrous, the unknown… the mystery of life. Cathy Richardson found the essence of Maureen’s tale and followed with The Black Crowes, “SHE TALKS TO ANGELS” and the audience help provide the lyrics…
The dynamic Jane Mathie next delivered a story called LOONEY TUNES – A TALE OF PHYSICAL NEED in which she describes her collegiate dating career as a series of FOOD DATES… Poor Jane was often hungry in college and lacked sufficient funds to support her high gustatory standards. (Jane confessed that although despite her frequent hunger she would NOT eat hot dogs) so she often accepted the dinner invitations of gentlemen in hopes of filling her tummy. I believe the technical term for this condition is FOOD WHORE. (Jane’s term, not my own) This approach apparently worked for awhile until she met the crazy guy who fell hard for her, singing Operatic arias in her honor and inundating her with an endless supply of mylar balloon hearts, neither of which Jane appreciated. This delightful piece had the audience rolling in the aisles. Cathy Richardson brought down the house when she followed Jane’s story with an anthem in tribute to Miss Mathie… Of course, I’m talking about the classic STARSHIP song JANE! It was powerful and perfect and the audience roared in appreciation.
I provided the final story of the night, something I call THE JESUS OF COOL (I lifted the name from a Nick Lowe album) Mine was a confessional of how I fell under the spell of a charismatic high school friend, how I became an Apostle of the JESUS OF COOL before awakening to the fact that I was destined for trouble unless I made a break from my old pal Butch. My story relayed how easy it is for young people to blindly follow the cool ones and how important it is to stand up and be yourself. As is typical of my tales… TJOC details some of my many foibles but comes ‘round to show that I learned a little something about life for my troubles. The Rock Goddess closed the musical portion of the night with a rousing version of Heart’s MAGIC MAN. My old friend Butch would’ve been proud. If you haven’t seen Cathy perform a Heart song, you need to; She channels the Wilson sisters like no other.
Several audience members followed with a few FIVE SENTENCES, short snippets that are always a special part of the night.
As usual, the night was a gas… Heavy on veteran story tellers. Maureen keeps the night flowing and Cathy rocks the house with spot on improvisational interpretations of the stories… I’ve been doing the Voicebox thing for over 2 years now and a few things are clear…. It is ALWAYS entertaining, often hilarious and provocative and generally it is THE BEST NIGHT OF THE MONTH… Come tell your story….
Peace, TERRY FALOON